2017 NFL Mock Draft v1.0 by Danny Smith - 2.4
Published at 2/4/2017 3:28:00 PM
A little late, but this is my pre-Senior Bowl Mock. Thank you! :D
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Garrett is the currently the consensus #1 overall player and would finally give the Browns a pass rusher that other teams have to account for. They have a lot of needs with quarterback the usual concern, but I don’t think they will reach for one in a weak QB class. The current Browns regime seems to be more cautious and could also trade down since they do have two first round picks (again).
This is a bad year to need a quarterback, but the Niners are one of the teams that finds themselves in that situation. The top signal caller in the draft is far from settled at this point, but the Niners should have their pick. Watson is currently riding high on his National Championship performance and while this will likely change several times, here in v1.0 I am sending him to San Francisco.
The Bears also need a QB, but with head coach John Fox on the hot seat, I don’t see them reaching for one here. All the QBs in this class will need a lot of development and Fox simply doesn’t have the time. Instead, he will focus on the defense and take the best available defender which is hands down Allen who is a disruptive force that can play a variety of positions on the d-line.
After the success of the Cowboys many teams will be more apt to use a high pick on a running back, which was unheard of in previous years. The Jags, of course, need offensive line help more but there are no tackles worth taking this high. The team will definitely consider one of the highly touted safeties (Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker), but ultimately settle on Fournette in this mock. He is a rare blend of speed and power and should take some of the pressure off of young quarterback Blake Bortles.
The Titans will have two main focuses: their secondary and wide receivers. With two first round picks, they could conceivably fill both needs with their first two picks. Here in the Top 10, they will nab arguably the best safety in this year’s draft, Jamal Adams. Adams has been compared to future Hall of Famer Ed Reed and could anchor a revamped secondary for years to come.
This is a tougher pick than it should be. The Jets took quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the 2nd round last season, which was considered a reach at the time. Hackenberg ended up not even suiting up for a game until injuries forced the issue. Despite being out of contention and already knowing that Ryan Fitzpatrick was not part of their 2017 plan, the team still started Fitzpatrick over Hackenberg to close out the season. That speaks volumes about the level of confidence the team has in Hackenberg ... but do they give up on a second-round investment so soon? In v1.0, I am going to go with “no”.
While they will most definitely take another young QB in this draft, in the 1st round they will try and fix their leaky secondary. This is an extremely deep cornerback class and the pecking order is still up for heated debate. Some see Tabor as the #1 corner, others see him as a late 1st/early 2nd pick. He certainly has swagger though and if he lives up to the talk, could be just what the secondary needs.
The Chargers actually have some great young talent, especially on defense. CB Jason Verrett, Edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram (who I think will be tagged), and linebackers Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman form a very good young core. They definitely missed safety Eric Weddle though after letting him leave in free agency last season. Some of the team’s late game meltdowns might have been avoided with an intimidating presence in the middle. Malik Hooker is fast and a hard hitting player that would possibly give new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley his Earl Thomas.
The temptation to take running back Dalvin Cook will be there and most mock drafts agree. I certainly understand that and might ultimately come to the same conclusion. The team also desperately needs help on the offensive line (as usual) but again, there aren’t any players worth taking here. They could proceed anyway (and just might), but in this mock I am going to have them address the pass rush. Charles Johnson has lost a step, Kony Ealy has not developed as the team had hoped, and designated pass rusher Mario Addison might get overpayed in free agency. Aside from Myles Garrett, the team could potentially have their pick of the best pass rushers in this year’s draft. Barnett has been climbing, but there are questions about his speed and athleticism as he relies solely on strength to overpower blockers. That won’t work at the pro level, but some scouts feel he has more burst than some realize.
Should the Panthers pass on Barnett, the Bengals will be tempted to snatch him up. They will also take a long look at linebacker Reuben Foster here, but simply cannot ignore their pass rush. Thomas is flying up draft boards and is extremely explosive but not very big. This calls into question whether or not he can play 4-3 end though some feel his long arms will make up for it. Either way, whoever drafts him will find a place for him to play and let him loose on opposing quarterbacks.
In this mock the Bills have decided to let Tyrod Taylor go, which I think is a mistake. While the team has needs on defense, o-line, and receiver, this decision leaves a massive hole at quarterback and the team is almost forcing themselves to draft one. As we head towards the Combine and Pro Days, some of these quarterbacks will move up and be over-drafted out of desperation. In this mock though, that has not happened yet. So, the Bills will nab DeShone Kizer, who has all the tools but is extremely raw. Kizer is not a Day One starter though so the team will also be in the market for a veteran placeholder.
It seems like the Saints need a corner every season, but usually pass. This is a deep corner class, but the team can’t pass on a talent like Foster who might ultimately go even higher. Foster is a thumper inside who can also cover which is rare in college linebackers. He compares favorably to Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and can do a little bit of everything. The Saints will hopefully take advantage of a great CB class in round 2 but will pass here if Foster is available.
Much like Kizer at #10, there is a good chance that Trubisky won’t actually be here when it’s all said and done. In this mock he is though and the Browns will feel comfortable taking a QB since they have a lot of picks. Physically, Trubisky is everything you want in a quarterback. He has good size, a good arm, and can throw on the run. The problem with Trubisky is that he only has one year of starting experience and that year was in a spread offense so he will need coaching. Head coach Hue Jackson will more than likely be content with RG3 and Cody Kessler at the top of the depth chart while Trubisky develops.
The Cardinals certainly need a quarterback to develop behind a rapidly aging Carson Palmer, but I think that Arians feels that they are not all that far away from competing again and won’t want to take one so early ... not that any are still available in this mock anyway. The team also has their pick of wide receivers and will be tempted to take one here. Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end, perennial disappointment Malcolm Floyd was released, and the rest of the roster is full of deep threats and slot receivers.
Tough call here, but I have the team getting help for a position that Bruce Arians publicly called out during the season. Special teams ace Justin Bethel was forced into duty and struggled, former college running back Brandon Williams has a ways to go, and while Marcus Cooper led the team in interceptions he was awful in coverage. Lattimore is not the fastest corner, but he is big, technically sound, and has all the tools to be a shutdown player if he can stay healthy.
The Colts almost need an entirely new defense and they have never been good at keeping Andrew Luck upright and need O-line help. So, of course, they will take a running back.
While it is not their #1 need, it is definitely A need with the seemingly immortal Frank Gore finally seeing the end of the road and zero depth behind him. Cook is a dual purpose threat who would bring a new dimension to the Colt offense. He’s ultra quick and has excellent hands.
In my opinion, the Eagles need a corner more than a wide receiver ... though it is VERY close. With one of the (if not THE) best receivers in the draft staring them in the face, they won’t be able to pass on him. Nelson Agholor has been terrible and Jordan Matthews strikes me as more of a #2 (or #3) receiver than a go-to player. Williams has the sort of size/speed combination that offensive coordinators look for in a #1 receiver. He will have to adjust to the speed of the NFL, needs to polish up his route running, and has routinely out-muscled corners at the college level but is coachable and could become Carson Wentz’s favorite target.
In order for the Ravens to truly get their defense back where it was in the past, they will need a better pass rush. Elvis Dumervil is no doubt done and Terrell Suggs is finally showing signs of age. McKinley is a name to watch heading into the draft. He has one of the quicker first steps in this year’s class, but is extremely raw. With some coaching and technique work, he could develop into a dominant pass rusher. Grades out as the perfect edge rusher for Suggs to eventually pass the torch to.